Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crunchi Chili


老干妈 !!! Put this on your shopping list for your next trip to the Chinese grocery store. Lao Gan Ma Oil Chilli is a brilliant and tasty mix of "crunch" red chili pieces and peanuts in vegetable oil. Cost: under 2 bucks. Oil Chilli makes a great dipping sauce for dumplings and a wonderful addition to almost any meal. This is more than a condiment. You can use Oil Chilli in a variety of ways. I tried oil chilli with Ping's baozu (steamed pork dumplings a/k/a Chinese hamburgers) in Shenzhen last winter and I was hooked. The flavor is subtle and seductive. It's hot, but not painfully hot. The oil helps bring out the deep rich flavor of the red chili pieces and the chili oil soaked peanuts are a special treat.

The Lao Gan Ma Company in Guiyang, China specializes in "chilli foods" and there's an interesting variety of products on store shelves. Their website has product descriptions and company information in English/corporate Chinglish. They have been certified as a "Green Food" in China and you can also see the company's Honest Enterprises Of Pay Taxes certification. (My newest pastime is surfin' Chinese websites...) I've tried their hot pot condiment and tofu in chilli oil. These are excellent, too, but I'm hooked on the "crunchy" chili. They also make a version without peanuts. The company's website boasts "Over 1000 ″LaoGanMa″staff and workers produce 430,000 jars of chili foods per day, achieving the yearly output value approach in USD 50 million" and plans for the future that includes "an″aircraft carrier″of chili processing industry is being under construction." This I've got to see...

3 comments:

  1. This product looks very intriguing. I hope I can find it locally. How would you describe it's 'heat' level?

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  2. Hi leewins- Since it is oil based the heat level isn't as high as it would probably be with ground chiles alone. I'd compare it to a sambal. You'd local Chinese or Asian food store should have it in stock. I've seen it on the shelves in Omaha, Denver and Albuquerque. I prefer the peanut version. My wife makes lots of dumplings and we always have oil chile and black vinegar for dipping. If you try it let me know what you think- Dave

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  3. Hi Dave, your blog is very attractive. I enjoyed reading the info on cucumbers and I may try to pick up some of this oil. I wish your wife could come cook for me. I love chinese dumplings.

    judy DOT greenberg AT gmail DOT com

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